By Marcus & Kate Westberg on National Geographic’s Newswatch blog, February 20, 2014
In 2012, Marcus and Kate visited the many schools supported by Project Luangwa along with lodges being part of the association. Read here some snippets from the blog.
Our first stop was Chiyembekezo Pre-school, where camp owner Ady and his wife Jess pay local teacher Dailes Lungu’s salary. Schooling in Zambia is no longer free after grade 8, and without support many children drop out because their families can’t afford the fees. Students at Chiyembekezo, meaning ‘hope’, are either orphans or come from poor families, and would otherwise be playing on the street or fishing in the river during school hours.
Project Luangwa matches sponsors with children so they can continue their education and follow their dreams of becoming doctors, teachers and wildlife rangers. At Mfuwe Day Secondary School, the head girl, Agnes Njobvu, and head boy, Frencious Tembo, have both been sponsored through their school years. Without sponsorship, many students wouldn’t finish school, let alone get to the top of their class and even go on to further study.
Day 7 – 9: Shenton Safaris
Derek and Jules Shenton own and run two specialised photographic camps: Kaingo and Mwamba Bush camps. We didn’t actually stay at Kaingo as the one night we were there we had a sleep-out in an elephant hide, which brought back memories of sleeping in a tree last time. The hide sits on the banks of the river at a point where the Shentons have seen elephants coming to drink and take mud baths for as long as they can remember.
We fell asleep in the four-poster bed to the low rumbling of elephants as the moon hung low over the Luangwa River. Hides are a specialty at Shenton Safaris, where we spent time in the Hippo Hide and saw another hide anchored in the water, set up for when the Carmine Bee-eaters come to nest in the sandbank. Designed by Derek, the blinds allowed us to get up-close to the wildlife in ways that the local children couldn’t do around their villages.
At Mwamba Bush Camp, we stayed in one of only three chalets near the Last Waterhole Hide. My grandparents were both teachers in Zambia and they used to bring my mother on safari in South Luangwa when she was a girl and teach her about wildlife. Camp manager and guide Brent Harris shared with my grandparents a sense of the connection between all living things, something that the local kids don’t take long to understand.
Shenton Safaris is a founding member of Project Luangwa and was involved in one of the first projects at Hanada. The Hanada Project was started by local woman Hilda Hampondo, who reached out to orphans in the Mfuwe area with nobody else to take care of them. With funds raised by Derek and Jules, a pre-school was built with daily lessons in an open-sided chitenge, now run by the community under local Chief Mnkhanya.
One of the vulnerable children that needed extra care was Veronica Lungu, who suffered from a goiter that made it difficult for her to eat and even breathe. Veronica, accompanied by her grandmother and Hilda, moved to Derek and Jules’ house in Lusaka for several months to undergo treatment. She was kept in hospital for almost a month and, after a few close calls, the large growth was successfully removed and Veronica kept her voice.
Read the full blog relating Marcus and Kate Westberg’s 12 days in South Luangwa by clicking on the link below: